Every year the Ministry of Education runs the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Census to learn more about the state of play in the ECE sector.
Data is captured for a one-week period, usually the last week of June, and includes information about types of services, enrolment/attendance numbers, teaching staff and the use of Te Reo and community languages.
The government uses the information collected to monitor early learning services, determine funding and expenditure and to develop policy.
This year the ECE return week is from 22 June to 29 June and all early learning services are required to submit their completed forms to the Ministry of Education by 15 July, via their Student Management System (SMS) or ELI Web.
It’s important to note that all licensed early learning services connected to ELI need to complete and submit an ECE Return. If your service is not eligible to connect to ELI then you must complete the RS61 Return instead. Submitting a Return is mandatory and funding may be withheld if a service doesn’t complete their ECE Return by the due date.
In advance of completing and submitting a Return the Ministry has a few reminders for services:
- Services submitting an ECE Return via their SMS must ensure they are using the latest version of the software – new functionality released for the 2020 ECE Return won’t be visible in previous versions. Services unsure about the version they are running are urged to contact their SMS provider to confirm.
- Services are asked to ensure they have completed their ECE Return correctly. All children must be allocated a National Student Number (NSN) and all enrolment, attendance and staff details must be up to date. In particular, services need to ensure qualification and certification information is up to date for each staff member.
In addition, three changes have been added to the 2020 ECE Return:
- Staff age band
Collecting data on the approximate age of staff members helps the Ministry understand the age structure of the early learning workforce. This change applies to ECE teachers, homebased coordinators, homebased educators and specialist staff. Staff age will be as at Monday (22 June) of ECE Return week.
- Total hours worked
For each employed staff member (paid and unpaid) the 2020 Return will collect the total number of hours worked during the ECE Return Week. This includes contact hours, non-contact hours and breaks.
This is a mandatory field for staff members identified as an ECE Teacher, Playcentre Educator or Homebased Coordinator. If they did not work during the ECE Return Week, a 0 should be entered into the hours worked field.
If a staff member has a role such as Senior Management, Specialist Staff or Homebased Educator, they only need to provide hours worked if they worked during the ECE Return Week.
If a staff member has more than one role, you should provide the total hours worked for all the roles during the ECE Return Week.
- Three new Playcentre qualification codes
The Playcentre Federation have created additional qualifications for Playcentre educators which are now selectable for the ECE Return.
Learn more about the 2020 ECE Return here.